Bethlehem town board votes down appointment guidelines

"I'm not going to do things just to go get some political position in the future. There are worse things then losing elections," Messina said. "One of those things is doing what I feel is right."

Messina said that other board members were also interested in the deputy supervisor job and he feels the position should remain with some Town Board member, even if not him.

The Bethlehem councilman added that too many Democratic Committee members were being appointed to too many town positions, too quickly, and that he would like to see "full participation" from every political background.

Democratic Councilman Kyle Kotary said Messina's charges of political pandering couldn't be further from the truth.

"I voted against it because it deals with a problem that doesn't exist," Kotary said. "Party affiliation is by no means a requirement. Look at Parker Mathusa on the planning board or Mike Hodom on the zoning board."

Messina said Mathusa and Hodom, who have been affiliated with parties other than the Democratic Party, were reappointments and obvious and sensible choices because of their qualifications, but were not new appointments.

Mathusa weighed in saying he understood both sides of the issue.

"I think Sam would prefer the appointment process to be more formal," he said. "There are pluses and minuses to both sides."

Kotary said the town follows all legal procedures when it comes to appointments and Messina's proposal would simply tie up the business of the board.

"New York State law is very clear the town board has authority in its discretion to make appointments," said Kotary. "This is his view, his perception, and it would handcuff future board members. It's like saying, 'We're going to legislate how I'm to go vote,' and that's insane."

Kotary said the town was essentially a $36 million corporation with 250 employees and that it was "critical that the board not be handcuffed arbitrarily."

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